Minneapolis city council announces decision to disband police department

Image courtesy: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

News: Nine of 12 Minneapolis city council members announced on 7 June their decision to disband the city’s police department. They did not offer a timeline or specific actions they plan to take but said they are “taking intermediate steps toward ending” the force, reported The Washington Post.

Here are five components of the story:

  • This announcement comes in the wake of protests over the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers who have since been charged. The protests have spread across the country under the Black Lives Matter movement. Protestors are calling for defunding of law enforcement.
  • The council members announced at a community rally their intent to “dismantle” and “abolish” the emboldened and highly funded police agency, and build an alternative model of community-led safety. “We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department,” tweeted Council Member Jeremiah Ellison.
  • The reform plan in Minneapolis sets up what is likely to be a complicated discussion over new ways of policing across the US. But the process of setting up a new system will probably take months, and is not guaranteed because of the mayor’s opposition.
  • Advocates for defunding argue that recent police reform efforts have been unsuccessful, noting that de-escalation training, body cameras and other moves have not stopped racist brutality and killings. Police in America kill more people in days than many other countries do in years. 
  • Derek Chauvin, the police officer who suffocated Floyd with his knee against Floyd’s neck has been charged with murder, while the three other officers involved—Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao—were charged with aiding an abetting the murder of Floyd. There are also widespread documented accounts of police brutality and racism among the police officers during the protests.
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